Most bets are stupid. I once bet a guy $100 that some time, somewhere a major league baseball team had come back to win a game after being down more than seven runs in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs. Did I lose the bet? No. Did I win the bet? No. It seems even with the World Wide Web at our disposal, we could not ascertain a credible answer to that question. Although, it should be noted that this bet was made at Wrigley Field after both he and I had been radically over served, so it could be that neither one of us was in a hurry to seriously scrutinize the Baseball Almanac. However, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Chicago Cubs did not come back from being down seven runs in the bottom of the ninth on the evening of the bet's inception…they went down one, two, three, as is the custom. This is what led to my hypothesis that surely some team (that did not completely and utterly suck) had done so in the past. I still don't know the truth, so if one of you statistics masters out there care to share that information, please feel free. I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations has run out on the drunken wagers of 1998, but it'd still be nice to know.


Other bets can be good things, particularly when the ability to affect the outcome rests within your own hands…or belly as the case may be. About three months ago, I felt the need to share the details surrounding a weight loss bet I'd entered into with two high school friends. We were slated to go on our annual drinking trip in early June, so the idea was to see who could drop the most weight before we left. The other participants were only identified by their first initials (J and B), although truth be told, I don't know why I felt the need to conceal their identities. Is it likely someone will track them down and hound them about some stupid contest that only three people really cared about in the first place? Doubtful, but, keeping with the "Deep Throat" anonymity, we'll just leave them J and B, although, I guess if you were going with a "Deep Throat" theme, you'd probably have to call them B and J, but I digress. On weigh in day, amid the hushed whispers of water-doping allegations, B clocked in at 209 lbs., J tipped the scales at 228 lbs., and I posted a stout 244, the race was on.


Each participant employed his own tactics. J embraced a low-carb Atkins's approach, I employed a six-day-a-week workout schedule and a low calorie diet, while B, the only bachelor of the group, seemed to be relying on a stringent combination of fried foods, alcohol and a complete lack of exercise to push him over the top. It was a long 11 weeks of posturing and ridicule, the perfect tonic to bridge the gap between winter and summer. When the alarm would go off at 5am, I'd need only picture the faces of J and B to motivate me out of bed and to the gym. We saw each other sporadically, and each visit centered on sizing up and estimating how much each competitor had lost…a real horse race.


A couple of weeks ago, we had the final weigh in. I'm not sure why, but I had somehow pictured a crowd of admirers huddled around the scales…too many Rocky movies, I guess. In the end, it was just we three competitors around the scale in B's kitchen. By the time it was all over, B had lost 29 lbs., J had dropped 30 and I'd lost 44. I'm still not sure how B dropped 29 lbs. on pub grub and couch surfing; I'm just going to chalk it up to genetics, and the fact that he may have had a lead pipe confined in one of his orifices during the first weigh in.


So, I was "the biggest loser", which, sadly, probably isn't the first time that title has been associated with my name. And what did I win for all this agony? What was the big payoff? Basically, having most of the people I know tell me how terrible I look. Yes, apparently there are people who can pull of thin, but I ain't one of them. Of course, I see myself every day, so I don't think I look that much different, but others seem to have a fairly strong opinion of how I should look and the resounding word from the populace is "heavy". I've been called "Auschwitz", "Abraham Lincoln" and "bobble head"…and this is by friends! It makes me wonder if they're just used to seeing me fat or if there is some resounding skeletal presence I convey to the general public. Could it be that I actually am big boned? I always thought that was just something relatives said to make you feel better about being a fat kid. Now that my bones are more than just a theoretical probability, I'm not so sure. I have noticed that my lower spine seems quite ridged, kind of like a razor back hog, if you'll excuse the imagery. Perhaps that could be added to the litany of new skinny-based slights used to describe my state of atrophy, after all, it's defined as "a mongrel hog with a thin body, long legs and a ridged back", fits the profile, people.


All in all, I wouldn't really change anything. The weight loss wager was good fun, and despite my so-called emaciation it's left us healthier than we were 3 months ago. For my part I plan to put on a little muscle in the next few weeks, before I'm institutionalized or  labeled the "lost Olsen triplet" for life…thin to win, baby.